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A group of scholars has proposed a new interpretation of the stone carvings at Yazılıkaya in modern-day Turkey, the site of a 3200-year-old, open-air Hittite shrine.  The reliefs, which depict more than 90 figures, have been known for close to 200 years and are located with walking distance of Ḫattuša, the ancient Hittite capital.  In the 20th century, the hieroglyphs with the reliefs were deciphered, indicating the figures represented deities, but an overall understanding of the site proved elusive. An international team of researchers from the Luwian Studies foundation, has proposed a model that understands the sanctuary to be a symbolic representation of Hittite cosmology, depicting their understanding of the underworld, earth, and sky, as well as the cycles of the moon and changing seasons. They believe the reliefs depict a procession of Hittite gods, with the supreme deities at the center, which is situated due north.  According to their theory, the supreme gods are associated with the circumpolar region of the sky, where the stars never disappear below the horizon. The scholars have concluded that the Hittite belief system had similarities with the beliefs of those in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. Some critics, however, have noted that the team’s interpretations are based more on texts from surrounding nations than on Hittite texts, which say little about astronomy. Hittites are referred to over 45 times in Scripture, but only a handful of these relate to the Hittites from the Anatolian region of modern-day Turkey.  See the link below to read Dr. Bryant Wood’s important article on Hittites in the Bible.






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